The WM George Heyes, on his own behalf and on behalf of the principal guest, his lady wife Brenda and lady-in-waiting Jessica, welcomed over 50 members and guests to the Ashmole Lodge No 5128 Ladies’ Evening. He thanked everyone for their support and expressed his and Brenda’s delight in being able to welcome so many friends, old and new, to such a happy occasion and hoped that everyone would have an enjoyable evening.
George explained that the ladies’ evening would be in two parts. The evening would start with the festive board based on a menu taken from Travellers Lodge No 4679 Ladies’ Evening, dated February 1964. The cost of the evening was 35 shillings (£1.75p), including table wine! However, instead of a whist drive, which would have been normal for that date, three horse races would be substituted and would form part of the entertainment. He went on to explain that coincidently, 1964 was the year the film ‘My Fair Lady’ with Audrey Hepburn was released. So the theme was set for the evening, with music from the 1960’s in general and the film in particular.
George introduced Michael Moore as the master of ceremonies, who immediately called upon the chaplain Bob Timmis, to say grace. The Masonic hall staff then served an excellent five course banquet, including fan of melon, cream of chicken soup, poached cod loin with prawn sauce, roast breast of turkey and fresh fruit salad with cream. Red and white wine complemented the meal, with tea or coffee to follow. A most enjoyable meal was reported by most of the diners!
Bob returned thanks and George proposed the loyal toast. Senior warden Derek Houghton proposed the toast to the ladies. The ladies song was sung by Norman Pritchard who was accompanied by Ken Magraw. Brenda responded on behalf of all ladies present.
Norman, with the assistance of Ken, serenaded the ladies and distributed long stem roses to the junior warden’s lady Judith Shilliton, senior warden’s lady Marie Booth, the principal guest Brenda and the lady in waiting Jessica, (George’s granddaughter).
The second part to the evening consisted of entertainment activities. Firstly, three horse races were organised. The races all had Masonic themed names, starting with the ‘Initiation Race’, then the ‘Passing Race’ and finally the ‘Raising Race’. Each race had eight runners. All horses were named after Masonic offices and various characters in the film.
Each horse in the first two races was purchased and bets placed. The races were run and much excitement generated along with much encouragement from the partakers. The third race differed in as much as horses were sold to the highest bidder. With bets placed the runners were off, again with great excitement and lots of encouragement being offered by stakeholders and punters alike. The winnings were distributed in accordance with the odds. This part of the evening generated a total of £310 for charity. George announced that the Royal Masonic Charity for Girls and Boys would receive £124, the Warrington Disability Partnership £124 and the Warrington Masonic Hall Lift Fund £62 and continued by adding his personal thanks for the kind generosity of everyone.
Afterwards a magician entertained everyone, which helped members and guests to regain their composure and their pulse rates to normalise.
A cheese and biscuit supper was then served. Even though the banquet was extremely well received and very easily consumed, surprisingly, most people still found some room for the supper!
Kevin Jay, the all-rounder who had entertained everyone all night, changed into disco mode and dancing started. In keeping with the remainder of the event, music from the 1960’s prevailed and continued to almost midnight. George brought the evening to a close saying he hoped everyone had enjoyed the evening, offering again his sincere thanks and wished all safe journey home.